John Howe, The Blessedness of the Righteous Opened, and the Vanity of This Mortal Life (1673)


The Blessed of the Righteous Opened (originally published 1668), bound here with The Vanity of This Mortal Life, is a religious tract by the Presbyterian minister and former chaplain to Cromwell, John Howe (1630-1705). He could not agree to the settlement of the church after the Restoration and became an itinerant minister. He was, according to David Field, a “leader of non-conformists,” a moderate Calvinist, and “one of England’s most influential religious figures of the late seventeenth century” (ODNB). This particular edition of one of his most popular works was printed by the female printer Anne Maxwell, now well known as a printer of many of the works of the prolific Margaret Cavendish, an utterly different type of author than John Howe.


The endpaper of this text by Puritan John Howe is inscribed “Ex Dono Sarah Browne.” Beneath Sarah’s signature, John Dale has twice written his inscription and dated the first one “April 28, 1711.” Although Sarah’s inscription is not dated, it appears contemporaneous to John’s. This is one of the examples on our blog of a book that was not owned, but given by a woman. This type of gift positions both giver and recipient of a work like Howe’s in terms of a shared religious affiliation. If John Dale was the recipient of the book, the fact that he signed his name twice and included a date suggests he appreciated the gift.



Source: Book offered for sale by Jeff Weber Rare Books in April 2019. Images used with permission.

Further Reading

David P. Field, “Howe, John (1630-1705).” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. September 2005.

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